Facebook is asking global regulators to write new data sharing guidelines after the company was compelled to revamp its own approach to the issue, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The social media giant, which was embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica scandal that compromised the data of millions, wrote a white paper asking regulators to create clear guidelines and rules for when and how data can be transferred, as well as how to protect it and who is at fault when things go wrong.
“To build portability tools people can trust and use effectively, online services need clear rules about what kinds of data should be portable and who is responsible for protecting that data as it moves to different services,” Facebook wrote. “Although some laws, such as the GDPR and CCPA, already guarantee the right to portability, we believe companies and people would benefit from additional guidance about what it means to put those rules into practice.”
Data portability is an important issue to Facebook, as it has reams of data that needs to be stored and protected. The company also sometimes allows users to transfer data to other apps through its service.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been asking for more regulation for his company as well as others, especially in the areas of privacy and election integrity. Facebook has spent about $12.6 million on lobbying amid growing scrutiny by government and regulators over privacy and antitrust issues. In addition, the company has used the data portability options of other companies to its own benefit.
“In its early years … Facebook benefited immensely from Google’s portability efforts,” wrote Bennett Cyphers, an engineer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a blog post. “Facebook encouraged users to download their contact lists from Gmail, then upload them to Facebook, in order to build out its social network.”
However, according to Michael Veale, a lecturer in digital rights and regulation at University College London Faculty of Laws, Facebook does not generally make it easy to port data from its network to other destinations unless it benefits the company. “Their record on data portability is extremely poor,” he said.